Florida Power & Light customers can – for the first time – get rebates for solar water heaters and solar panel systems in their homes and businesses.
It's part of a 5-year pilot program approved by the state Public Service Commission. But customers who are interested should act fast: FPL will dole out the $15.5 million approved by the PSC for 2011 on a first-come, first-serve basis. Progress Energy and Tampa Electric Co. ran out of money for similar rebates for solar panels within three days.
Customers can't apply until June. 21. But here's what FPL says they should do before then to prepare:
Find a good contractor. Customers should shop around to find a good licensed contractor, making appointments with one or more at the property where the system will be installed to get quotes and details. "These projects can require a significant investment, and customers should make sure and do their homework to research various contractors and options," said FPL Spokesman Mark Bubriski. "They will need specific information about the installation from a contractor in order to complete the rebate application."
Reservations for rebates will be taken in the order FPL receives applications but the applications will only be approved if they meet eligibility requirements.
Review the program standards and download an application form at www.fpl.com/solarrebates.
Register for an account at fpl.com if you don't already have one. The utility says an online account will be needed to apply for the rebates. Check that the home and email address listed for you are correct in the online system.
Mark your calendar so you can be sure to submit your application on June 21, when the utility starts taking applications online. Any system components installed before FPL approval won't be eligible for a rebate.
FPL will offer the following rebates: $1,000 for residential customers who install solar water heaters, $2 per watt and up to $20,000 for residential customers who install solar panels, $50,000 per property, and up to $150,000 for all properties, for businesses that install solar water heaters or solar panels.
Troy Nelson, a salesman for Broward Solar, a solar contractor, said the rebates plus the federal government’s 30 percent tax credit for solar systems, could bring the $10,000 estimated cost of a solar water heater down to about $3,000 and the $35,000 estimated cost of a 5-kilowatt solar panel system to about $14,500.
FPL will also pay for some solar water heater installations in new low-income housing and solar panel installations at public schools through another process. Details are available online.